By Samuel Bishop
Ireland is an exciting place to be at the moment, there’s a ‘can-do’ attitude and a positive feeling in the air. Many of the most inspiring projects to emerge in recent years have grown from our desire to come together and innovate and the results inherently generate human interactions and foster inclusive relationships, leading to stronger, healthier, happier communities. I’ve been creating spaces and events for the past few years and as well as being fun, it’s begun to establish a new culture which offers alternatives to the pub, church or traditional community centre. Whether it’s through working, learning, making or eating together, these initiatives continue to inspire me to live and work here.
Smithfield is an urban space with great potential and Block T are at the forefront of the exciting new energies being generated there. Their latest initiative is a co-working and café space looking out onto the square. It’s a place to work, create and collaborate. Just reserve a desk for the times you’d like it. Another great collaborative spot is Mabos, a warehouse in Grand Canal Dock. It offers the perfect mix of entertainment and community. Becoming a member means you can attend gigs, workshops, play table tennis, use the skate ramps or get stuck into numerous other activities. A4 towers, Hendrons Collider, Basic Space, Moxie and JaJa studios are more artist-led spots providing something a little different in Dublin and there are constantly evolving spaces like these in Limerick, Galway and Cork too. blockt.ie | mabos.ie
Trade School Dublin kicked off last year and is offering great schedules in the coming months. It’s a non-traditional learning space where students barter with teachers to attend class and the concept has become a worldwide movement. Trailblaze is a dynamic platform showcasing and promoting creative and socially engaged ideas, people and possibilities. Taking place in underused and beautiful spaces, the powerful speakers and stunning music have made breathtaking and wonderfully inspiring events. thetrailblazery.com
Sharing Green Space
2013 was the year of Granby Park, a temporary park built by 500 volunteers in north Dublin. When the sun went down, we had many evenings to enjoy in front of an outdoor cinema screen, courtesy of the popup events company ‘Happenings’. Events like this look set to grow bigger and greener this year with plenty of instant cinema and music events planned for our parks and public spaces. happenings.ie
Finally, it’s no surprise that the best gatherings take place over food, it’s something that seems to come naturally. For the past five years our Street Feast team have been encouraging people to take to their streets and share food together and this year the annual event will take place on the 15th of June. It’s a powerful feeling; sitting down to lunch in the middle of your road with all of your neighbours, kids out playing and no cars to be seen. What all of these initiatives have in common is that they provide a space for people to gather. It seems more than ever, we need to be establishing and maintaining physical spaces and social platforms that foster community and idea sharing. As well as the obvious benefits, there are countless knock-on effects and rewards and it’s in these places and in our revived culture that we’ll find even more opportunities to create, participate, collaborate and share. streetfeast.ie | firstname.lastname@example.org